Othello's Stature As A Tragic Hero.

1107 words - 4 pages

"Othello's stature as a tragic hero is severely compromised by the alacrity with which he turns against his wife, and by his failure to achieve any real self knowledge"To what extent do you agree?Othello's stature as a tragic hero is severely compromised by the speed and ease with which he turns against his wife, and by his failure to achieve any real self knowledge. In the Shakespearian tragedy of Othello, we witness the character of Othello fall from a position of control in Venetian society due to a combination of different reasons. Othello has a deep self-love for himself, and it is because of this he turns against his wife Desdemona with a great speed and ease. A traditional 'tragic hero' portrays four major characteristics: firstly, the tragic hero is a figure of high standing/esteem in the community; secondly, there is an agency that leads to the fall of the hero whether within the hero himself or from an outside figure/source; the third characteristic is a moment of self-realisation or self-awareness and the last characteristic is that the fall of the hero results in death.Othello is portrayed as a well-respected citizen within the Venetian society. He can be seen as an intelligent and heroic military leader whose skill is indeed very valuable and necessary to the state and he knows this. His military success has promoted his position within Venetian society, and as a 'Moor' within the white dominated society, he has a strong desire to maintain his social standing, and is prepared to sacrifice anything which threatens his reputation, which leads to the eventual death of Desdemona. Othello is trusted by everyone in Venice being called, "valiant Othello" and "brave Othello" and described as "...more fair than black" (I, iii, 286). He has been given full martial and political command of Cyprus and is a figure of high standing and esteem within the Venetian community.Othello's flaw or weakness lies in his hubris, or exaggerated pride in himself, and he continually refers to it saying "Let [Brabantio] do his spite, my services which I have done the signiory / Shall out-tongue his complaints..." (I, ii, 17-19) and that "...[his] parts, [his] title, and [his] perfect soul / Shall manifest [him] rightly..." (I, ii, 31-32). It is due to his obsession with his pride, his self-esteem and his self image which leads to his loss of self control and his fall from a position of control. When Othello marries Desdemona, he as a 'Moor' has to prove himself worthy of her hand in marriage and says his won social status is worthy of her. In the stories he tells her and he father Brabantio, he tries to "shape an image of himself [that is] acceptable in Venice". He has an anxiety about his blackness, and is alienated within Venice (and always will be), very rarely being referred to as Othello, but more commonly given the title of "the Moor", "thick-lips", "the devil", "an old black ram" and "the beast with two backs". He is unable to see himself as a member of...

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